Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center

2012 Newsletter #17 – Surprise Frost!

wk #17 fam

I’m so sorry this newsletter is sooooo late! It’s been a crazy-busy and exhausting week, even more so than usual. I’m trying to get over that cold everyone seems to have had, and the farm along with the entire valley suffered a surprise freeze last week. So, while I’ve refrained from complaining about the weather too much this year… now the gloves are off (well actually, they’re on in the chilly, fog blanketed mornings these days). Mother Nature can be so cruel; she both giveth and taketh away! Last Thursday we had a totally unexpected freeze overnight. NOAA (our weather site of choice) said overnight temps would get to 40 or 41 degrees… so we were completely caught off guard Thursday morning when we got to the farm to find the cauliflower, broccoli & winter squash suffering from frostbite!! Fortunately we only lost part of one succession of broccoli & cauliflower and we have more coming up right behind what we lost. But the winter squash was (almost) a huge loss. The deal with winter squash is each fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) matures at different rates and once mature it cures (the skin hardens) for long term storage. A smart farmer, and we like to think we’re smart farmers, typically wait to let all the squashes ripen and cure, and then harvest it all at once over the course of about a week. The extended warm sunny days this fall had given us our first bumper crop of winter squashes in a few seasons, so imagine farmer Adam’s horror at 7am Thursday morning finding a field of frost kissed squash!  As the fog lifted and the sun started to warm the fields we ultimately found that not all was lost… But is was still all-hands-on deck to harvest all of the delicata, butternut, kabocha buttercup, acorn, spaghetti & sugar pie pumpkin ASAP so we could bring in all that was ripe before losing any more to another freeze. Even I, the officina, got out of the office to help. By the end of the day on Friday, thanks to our AMAZING crew we had harvested 7,000 pounds of sugar pie pumpkins and 12,000 pounds of mixed winter squash. It was epic! And in the end, we only lost about 15% of our crop. We only hope the other farms in the valley fared as well. Check out some pictures of the day. … click here to read full newsletter

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